Thursday, April 2, 2020
Authors Author Directory Joel Greenburg

Joel Greenburg


joel-greenbergDr Joel Greenberg is a Canadian author and historian living in the UK.

Joel Greenberg has written the authorised biographies of two key figures in the story of signals intelligence, Gordon Welchman and Alastair Denniston.

The Welchman book, Gordon Welchman, Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence, is the basis of a joint BBC/Smithsonian Network 2015 documentary about Welchman –The Forgotten Genius of Bletchley Park.

The Denniston book, Alastair Denniston, Code-breaking from Room 40 to Berkeley Street and the Birth of GCHQ, is both a biography and an account of signals intelligence from its early development to the birth of GCHQ. Denniston was the first Head of GCHQ and the book was launched at its headquarters on 7 September 2017 in honour of him.

Joel Greenberg received his PhD in Numerical Mathematics from the University of Manchester (UMIST) in 1973.  He worked for the Open University for over 33 years, and held a number of senior management positions at Director level.

Website address:
Twitter: @joelgreenberg


Greenberg, JM, Gordon Welchman Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence, Pen & Sword Books Ltd, October 2013.

Greenberg, JM, Alastair Denniston, Code-breaking from Room 40 to Berkeley Street and the Birth of GCHQ, Pen and Sword Books Ltd, September 2017

see extended bibliography below

Buy Joel Greenberg Books Online

Gordon Welchman: Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence (Frontline Books) Paperback | Hardback
Alastair Denniston: Code-breaking from Room 40 to Berkeley Street and the Birth of GCHQ (Frontline Books)
​ The Turing Guide, Chapter 10, The Enigma Machine (OUP) – Hardback


Gordon Welchman: Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence (Frontline Books)

During World War II, the Government Code and Cipher School, a secret organisation and forerunner of the modern day Government Communications Headquarters in the UK, read millions of encrypted German operational and strategic communications. This organisation employed around 10,000 people and was based at a country estate called Bletchley Park, about 50 miles north of London. The general view by historians is that this work shortened gordon-welchmanthe war by at least two years and saved countless lives.

The Official Secrets Act and the passing of time have prevented the Bletchley Park story from being told by many of its key participants. Here at last is a book which allows some of them to speak for the first time. The author has been able to draw on Gordon Welchman’s personal correspondence with wartime colleagues which lay undisturbed in his son’s loft for many years. Welchman was one of Bletchley Park’s most important figures and author of the seminal book, The Hut Six Story. It was Welchman who came up with the plan for a production line approach to the decryption of Germany’s secret communications. His book was the first to reveal not only how they did it, but on an industrial scale.

This book draws extensively on Welchman’s personal diaries and papers to reveal his thoughts on a number of Bletchley Park personalities including Alistair Denniston, Edward Travis, Dilly Knox and Alan Turing.  His working relationship with Turing is particularly intriguing as is the story of the Bombe machine and Welchman’s contribution to its ultimate success. It tells the story of the last two years of Welchman’ s life, spent trying to finally set the record straight about the wartime contributions of the Polish codebreakers as well as Denniston and Knox.

Included is detail of Welchman’s post-war career in the fledgling American computing industry and of the key developments there which paralleled those taking place in Britain.

Revealed for the first time is the story behind Welchman’s book and his subsequent treatment by both GCHQ and its American counterpart, the NSA. A recently declassified government document finally provides some of the rationale behind their actions.

Alastair Denniston: Code-breaking from Room 40 to Berkeley Street and the Birth of GCHQ (Frontline Books)

This book tells the story of Alastair Denniston and the development of British signals intelligence from 1914 to 1945. Denniston was the first Operational Director of the Government Code and Cypher School (GC & CS), created in 1919. He had been a member of the Admiralty’s cryptographic branch known as Room 40 during WW1. In 1938, he recognised the need for academics and in particular mathematicians, to be involved in cryptographic work. He subsequently began planning for an expansion of GC&CS and drew up a list men who agreed in the event of war, to undertake secret work for the Foreign alastair-denniston-by-joel-greenbergOffice. When Britain declared war with Germany on 3 September, 1939, these men reported for duty at GC&CS’s new intelligence centre at Bletchley Park. In the early days of WW2, Denniston encouraged innovation and oversaw the early development of GC&CS, the forerunner of modern day GCHQ.

He hosted the first meeting between British and American signals intelligence representatives in his office at Bletchley Park in February 1941. His trips to the US and Canada in the latter part of 1941 played a significant role in establishing Anglo-American collaboration in signals intelligence and the ‘special relationship’ between the two countries. In February 1942, following a restructure of GC&CS, Denniston was given a smaller role overseeing diplomatic and commercial cryptanalysis work. His new department moved to offices in Berkeley Street in London where he remained in charge until the end of 1944. He was then encouraged to retire with a pension much smaller than he had expected. His death in 1961 was ignored by major newspapers and the British intelligence community.

Pitch to Publishers & Festival Organisers

Joel Greenberg is a leading authority on Bletchley Park and the use of signals intelligence through two world wars as acknowledged by GCHQ, who hosted his recent book launch, and by the NSA in the US who invited Joel to speak at their last two bi-annual Cryptological History Symposiums.  Joel Greenberg is the biographer of two of the leading figures of both Bletchley Park and signals intelligence, Gordon Welchman and Alastair Denniston.

Contact email: joel@joel[greenberg] (remove square brackets from email)
Contact telephone: 01295 810301

Other Publications
Greenberg, JM, O’Neill-Jones, P. (2004). Bringing Media Rich Content to On-line Learning. In Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2004 (pp. 155-158). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

Interview – CNI Autumn Task Force Meeting, 18 December, 2006 .

Interview – What does it mean to be educated in the 21st Century, Open EdTech Summit 10, 11 November, 2008, Barcelona. Published by UOC, Office of Learning Technologies

Greenberg, JM. Code, Community and Commerce for OSLProceedings of the VI International Seminar of the UNESCO chair in e-Learning on Open Social Learning, May 2010, Barcelona .
See also:
​Greenberg, JM, The Enigma Machine, Chapter 10 in The Turing Guide, Oxford University Press, 2017.

Greenberg, JM, Bletchley Park, From Secret Intelligence Centre to World Class Heritage Site, RAF Federation Families Magazine, Spring Edition, 2015.

​Greenberg, JM, Bletchley Park, From Secret Intelligence Centre to World Class Heritage Site, Envoy Magazine, Spring, 2015.​

Greenberg, JM. Alan Turing: The Man, the Enigma, BBC History Magazine, October 2015.

Greenberg JM, Alan Turing,: The Man, the Enigma, The Secret History of Spies, BBC History Magazine Collector’s Edition, October 2015.

Welchman, G, Greenberg, JM, Ultra revisited, a tale of two contributors, Intelligence and National Security, 3, no. 2 (2017): [Taylor & Francis Online].

Welchman, G, Greenberg, JM, How I came to write The Hut 6 Story, Intelligence and National Security, 33, no. 1 (2018): [Taylor & Francis Online].​

Edwards, JB,  Greenberg, JM, Longitudinal interactions in multipass processes, Proceedings of the IEE Vol. 124, No. 4, April 1977.

Reid, CN, Greenberg, JM.  An exercise in materials selection with help from a PET, The Metallurgist and Materials technologist, 12,7 pp. 385-387, July 1980.

Greenberg, JM, Reid, CN.  A simple design task (with the aid of a microcomputer), Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Engineering Software, London, England, pp. 926-941, 1981.

Greenberg, JM,  Every, IM, Franklin, J.  A computer to videotape interface for computer animation, Proceedings of Computer Graphics 83, London, England, pp 205-217, October, 1983.
back to top
Greenberg, JM.  Computer Animation In Distance Teaching, Proceedings of Graphics Interface 85, Montreal, Canada, pp. 419-423, May, 1985.

Greenberg, JM.  Computer Animation in Distance Teaching Computer-Generated Images, The State of the Art, Springer-Verlag, 1985, pp. 260-266.

Greenberg, JM, Saunders, D.  The Cavity Computer Animation System, Proceedings of Computer Graphics and Simulation, London, England, April, 1966.

Bromilow, TM, Daniels, J, Greenberg, JM.  The Home Microcomputer as an Aid to Distance Teaching,  Proceedings of the International Congress on  Educational Computing In Mathematics, Rome, Italy, June 1987.

Greenberg, JM.  Computer animation: direct to video, Proceedings of Computer Graphics 87, London, England, October, 1987.

Greenberg, JM.  Animating mathematical and scientific concepts, Proceedings of Computer Graphics 89,  London, England, November, 1989.

Greenberg, JM. Educational Applications in Computing, Academic Computing Service Publication, 1991.

Greenberg, JM.  Implementation of the Home Computing Policy—A Case Study, Academic Computing Service Report, 1991.

Butcher, PG, Greenberg, JM.   Educational computing at the Open University: the second decade, Education & Computing, Vol.8, pp201-215, January, 1992.

Greenberg, JM.  Book Review, Computers and Education, Vol. 19, No. 4, pp 396, 1992.
​ back to top
Greenberg, JM. Integrating Multimedia into a Student’s Learning Environment, Proceedings of the East-West Conference on Emerging Computer Technologies in Education, Moscow, Russia, 1992.

Greenberg, JM. Educational Applications in Computing, Academic Computing Service Publication, 1993.

Greenberg, JM.  Developing Multimedia Learning Environments for Distance Teaching, Proceedings of the International Conference on Computer Technologies in Education, Kiev, Ukraine, 1993.

Greenberg, JM.  Multimedia and the Open University, Proceedings of the Conference on Multimedia in Higher Education: Portability and Networking, Abingdon, England, 1993.

Greenberg, JM.  Developing Integrated Multimedia Applications for Distance Teaching, Proceedings of MEDIAactive Conference on Harnessing Multimedia for Higher Education, Liverpool, England, 1994.

Greenberg, JM.  Integrated Multimedia in Distance Education, Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 94: World Conference on Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, Vancouver, Canada, 1994.

Greenberg, JM.  Integrated Multimedia in Distance Education, Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia Annual, AACE, 1994.

Greenberg, JM.  Producing Integrated Multimedia Teaching Material, Proceedings of the East-West Conference on Computer Technologies in Education, Yalta, Crimea, 1994.

Greenberg, JM.  The Role of Multimedia in a Student’s Learning Experience, Proceedings of the East-West International Conference on Multimedia, Hypermedia and Virtual Reality, Moscow, Russia, 1994.

Greenberg, JM.  Integrated Multimedia in Distance Education, Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 95: World Conference on Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, Graz, Austria, June 1995.

Greenberg, JM.  Producing Integrated Multimedia Teaching Material, Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 95: World Conference on Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, Graz, Austria, June 1995.

Greenberg, JM.  Bringing the New Technologies to Distance Learning: A British Perspective, Selected papers from the 6th National Conference on College Teaching and Learning, Jacksonville, USA, 1995.

Greenberg, JM.  “On the Open highway in search of serious money”, The Times Higher Education Supplement, Issue 11, April 7, 1995.

Greenberg, JM.  Producing Integrated Multimedia Teaching Material for Distance Education, Panta Rhei, Najaarsmanifestatie, Zwolle, Holland,  November 1995.

Jones, A, Scanlon, E, Tosunoglu, C. Ross, S, Butcher, P, Murphy P and Greenberg, JM.  Evaluating CAL at the Open University: 15 years on, Computers and Education, Vol. 26, No. 1-3, pp.5-15, 1996.

Jones, A, Scanlon, E, Tosunoglu, C, Ross, S, Butcher, P, Murphy, P and Greenberg, JM.  Evaluating CAL at the Open University: 15 years on, Computer Assisted Learning, Selected Contributions from the CAL 95 Symposium, Pergamon, 1996.
​ back to top
Greenberg, JM.  Report on the Internet Broadcast of the Tracking Technology for Academic Advantage Colloquium, Internal Open University Report, June, 1996.

Greenberg, JM. Creating Computer Based Learning for Distance Education,  Proceedings of the International Conference on Distance and Open Learning, Penang, Malaysia, February, 1997.

Greenberg, JM.  Internet Broadcasting in Distance Education, Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 97: World Conference on Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, Calgary, Canada, June 1997.

Scanlon, E, Tosunoglu, C, Jones, A, Butcher, P, Ross, S, Greenberg, JM, Taylor, J, Murphy, P.  Learning With Computers; Experiences of Evaluation, Computers and Education, Vol. Xx, No, x, pp 1-6, 1998.

Greenberg, JM.  Integrating Media and On-line Teaching: Creating a Third Generation Open University, Proceedings of IL98 for Higher Education, Interactive Learning Research and Development, Edinburgh, August, 1998.

Jones, A, Scanlon, E, Tosunoglu, C, Morris, E, Ross, S, Butcher, P, Greenberg, JM.  Contexts for evaluating educational software, Interacting with Computers, No. 11, pp. 499-516, 1999.

Greenberg, JM.  The role of IT in reshaping university teaching post-Dearing, UCISA 1999 Management Conference, UCISA web site at Harrogate, March, 1999.

Greenberg, JM. The Role of DVD in Distance Education, Proceedings of DVD Summit 2, published on DVD, Dublin, 1999.

Greenberg, JM.  The British Open University Approach to Online Learning, Fourth Monograph from the Pew Symposia on Learning and Technology, Innovations in Online Learning: Moving Beyond No Significance Difference, Phoenix, Arizona,  December 2000.

Greenberg, JM. A Hybrid System for Delivering Web Based Distance Learning and Teaching Material, Informatica 25 , pp 155-158, 2001.

Greenberg, JM.  A Hybrid System for Delivering Web Based Distance Learning and Teaching Material, “The Changing Universities – The Role of Technology” The 7th International Conference of European University Information Systems, “Lecture Notes in Informatics” of the  German Informatics Society (GI), pp 331, 2002.

Greenberg, JM.  The Connected DVD – a New Force in Distance Education, Proceedings of DVD Summit IV, to be published on DVD, Dublin 2002.

Awards & Prizes:
Best paper award at East-West Conference on Emerging Computer Technologies in Education, Moscow, Russia, 1992: Integrating Multimedia into a Student’s Learning Environment,
Excellence Award: WebDVD Demystified, DVD Summit Event, Dublin, Ireland, 1999
Achievement Award, IMS Global Learning Consortium, 2006
Achievement in E-Learning Award: International Distance Education Advanced Forum, Penang, Malaysia, 2007

You Tube Videos

Joel Greenberg has participated and consulted as the historian on a number of film, TV and live theatre projects.  Notably:

Bletchley Park; Code-breaking’s Forgotten Genius
In 2015 a BBC2 documentary was screened based on his book, Gordon Welchman: Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence.  The documentary was called Bletchley Park; Code-breaking’s Forgotten Genius.  This was also broadcast by Smithsonian channel in the US as The Codebreaker who hacked Hitler.  Joel Greenberg was the historical consultant on the programme which is also now available for sale on DVD.

The Secrets of Her Majesty’s Secret Service (2013)
Joel Greenberg acted as a consultant and contributor to this PBS documentary about the history of MI6.  The documentary is available to view here.

Special Operations: Bletchley Park and the Ultra Secret (2014)
Joel Greenberg was heavily involved with the production of this DVD both in terms of presenting and ensuring the accuracy of historical content.  The DVD is available for sale here.  Joel Greenberg provided an interview for Pen and Sword here, in conjunction with the production of the DVD, to talk about his book.

Alan Turing at Bletchley Park (2012)
Joel Greenberg helped script and also took part in a short film made by Dr Charles Severance for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to commemorate the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing. This film is available to view here.

The Imitation Game (2014)
On behalf of the Bletchley Park Trust, Joel Greenberg provided historical expertise and insight on both script and set design to Black Bear Productions for the Oscar Award winning movie, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley.  Notably Joel Greenberg personally provided extensive historical advice to Graham Moore, the scriptwriter, who went on to win the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Imitation Game” in the 2015 Academy Awards.

The Bletchley Circle (ITV1 drama series one (2012) and two (2014))
On behalf of the Bletchley Park Trust, Joel Greenberg provided detailed assistance on the historical aspects of the storyline and plot as well as technical expertise.  Each episode attracted around five million viewers in the UK alone.  The DVDs for series one and two are available to buy here.  Subsequently to being broadcast on ITV1, both series aired in the US on PBS and in Australia on ABC.

Britain’s Greatest Codebreaker (Furnace / Story Center Productions 2011)
Joel Greenberg provided advice on this 2011 Channel 4 docudrama about Bletchley Park codebreaker, Alan Turing.  Further information about the film can be found here.

Talks Given
Learning Technologies 2008 London,
England Open source: It works but is it really free?
June, 2008
​International Seminar of the UNESCO chair in e-Learning OPEN SOCIAL LEARNING Universitat Oberta de Catalunya Code, Community and Commerce for OSL June, 2013

Codebreakers Legacy Event Bletchley Park, Gordon Welchman, 9 November, 2013

The Stevenson Lecture, Royal Holloway, University of London
The Birth of Machine Cryptanalysis at Bletchley Park  
17 February 2014

2015 Cryptologic History Symposium Laurel, Maryland Gordon Welchman: Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence, 23 October, 2015

​Celebrating Bletchley Park, Brighton ,Gordon Welchman: Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence
19-20 March 2016

Keynote: Information Security Group Open Day, Royal Holloway, University of London Bletchley Park and the Industrialisation of Signals Intelligence   ,22 June 2016

​2017 Cryptologic History Symposium, Laurel, Maryland Alastair Denniston: Code-breaking from Room 40 to Berkeley Street and the Birth of GCHQ, 20 October, 2017

The Reform Club, London The Politics of Signals Intelligence, 30 October 2017

Other Social Media:

BBC News –Margaret Thatcher warned of WW2 codebreaker ‘security threat’

The Register – Bletchley Park remembers ‘forgotten genius’ Gordon Welchman

The Observer – The newly-restored Bletchley Park and the fast-eroding freedoms it was set up to defend

MailOnline – Enigma’s ‘forgotten genius’: Story of Alan Turing’s spymaster boss who led the team that cracked Hitler’s WWII codes then was persecuted for speaking out is told in a new book

Downend Voice –Gordon Welchman, no longer a forgotten hero – A Turing colleague from Bletchley Park gets new recognition

Forces Network radio interview –New Book to Shed Light on Royal Navy WW2 Codebreaking Hero

GCHQ Web Site – The life and work of Alastair Denniston, our first Head

Sky News – Alastair Denniston: Family’s book of codebreaking chief to counter Hollywood portrayal

The Telegraph – Unsung hero of Bletchley Park to finally be recognised as book ‘rectifies damage of Imitation Game’

MailOnline – Fascinating photos show first wartime commander of the Bletchley Park codebreakers as family battle to repair his reputation trashed by Bendedict Cumberbatch’s The Imitation Game

The Polish contribution to breaking Enigma
On 19 November 2014 the families of the Polish mathematicians, Marian Rejewski, Henryk Zygalski and Jerzy Rozycki, visited Bletchley Park to honour their achievements before World War Two.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Poland –Bletchley Park commemorates Polish cryptologists

Video – Polish cryptologists and the breaking of the Enigma

​ New Electronics
Bletchley Park: An inside look at the home of intellectual courage and the modern computer
and Cracking Code Visit

Times of Israel  – How a handful of Jewish Codebreakers helped win the Great Wars

The Telegraph – Codebreakers’ Secret World – Tour for Journalists at Bletchley Park Prior to Google Mapmaker launch

South China Morning Post – Bletchley Park: now you can decode the enigma of country-estate cipher school

Bletchley Park Podcasts

Gordon Welchman – Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence Joel Greenberg April 2014

A very, very secret place “…the launch of the biography of one of Bletchley Park’s lesser known geniuses, Gordon Welchman”, Joel Greenberg May 2014

Codebreaders’ Legacy – Gordon Welchman Joel Greenberg September 2014

Commander Denniston’s Granddaughters Joel Greenberg September 2015

back to top

Book Reviews
Welchman biography
The Times – 20 December 2014
Sir John Scarlett KCMG OBE, former Head of MI6, chooses Gordon Welchman: Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence as his favourite title of the year.

Monsters and Critics – 21 August 2014
“This is essential reading…Brilliant research, fascinating information and well worth reading”.

Cryptologia – 20 December 2014
“…buy it… it is among the best of the myriad of books by or about the ‘star performers’ at Bletchley Park (BP) before and during those heady days of World War II and extending into the post-war period”.

Army Rumour Service – 8 April 2017
“This competent and comprehensive biography covers the life of Gordon Welchman”.

Denniston biography
GCHQ website – 13 September 2017
GCHQ launches a new biography of our first Head, Commander Alastair Denniston

Navy Net (the Unofficial Royal Navy community) – 16 November 2017
“This is much more than a biography of Alexander (‘Alastair’) Guthrie Davidson (‘AGD’), 1881-1961, wheelhorse of the British Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) effort at the start of Hitler’s War. It is also the story of SIGINT itself from 1914 onwards”.

Book Reviews by Nicholas Hoare for Vermont PBS – 10 October 2017
“…this handsome book.  It is an extremely thorough analysis of the man’s thinking, strategy and dealings as a human being with fellow human beings to form a team which has gone down in history”.


Author: Litfests

Site Publisher

Previous articleIan Williams
Next articleLiz MacRae-Shaw


Barnes Children’s Literature Festival

London's Largest Dedicated Children's Literature Festival London's largest dedicated children's...

Minehead Literary Festival

Founded in 2019, the event is back for a...

Stratford Literary Festival

Stratford is right up there with the very best...

Featured Author

Laurie Graham

Laurie was first published at the advanced age of...

Adrian Hayes

Adrian Hayes is a British record-breaking adventurer, author, keynote...

Christian Kyriacou

Christian Kyriacou is an Architect, House Whisperer, Philosopher, Author,...

March 2020

London’s Inaugural Deptford Literature Festival Cancelled

  NEWS The inaugural Deptford Literature Festival organised, by Spread the...

April 2020

Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival

The Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival is a FREE public event...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you

%d bloggers like this: